2020 was a challenging year for growing a business. The pandemic has left many companies feeling like they need to make up for lost time this year. Now, more than ever before, marketers must get creative to accelerate growth in the face of a shifting global business landscape.
According to a survey conducted by CoSchedule, 74% of marketers say they set marketing goals, but only 3% admit to reaching them. To reach your goals in 2021, you’ll need a marketing mindset change. More specifically, your company will need to adopt an agile and creative approach to strategic growth, a process commonly known as growth hacking.
Research has shown that only 15% of marketers evaluate their success by how many leads they get. Unfortunately, that means that most marketers have no idea what’s working or why. On the other hand, growth hackers know exactly what works and leverage their marketing strategies to make sure they only yield significant returns.
What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a term coined to establish the link between growing your business and using clever tactics (hacks) that reverse-engineer that process. Using these “hacks” makes your marketing efforts faster and more effective. Why? Because you’ve taken a collection of marketing best practices for your industry and tailored their one-size-fits-all approach to meet your brand’s unique needs.
Growth hacking isn’t prescriptive. Instead, it’s solutions-focused and results-driven. The benefit of implementing successful growth hacks is that they can help you acquire more customers, boost revenue, or hit a similar benchmark faster.
Growth hacking is an essential tool for smaller businesses in the B2B space that needs to make the most of every human and financial resource. What marketer couldn’t benefit from a proven, cost-effective, streamlined process?
The Keys to Growth Hacking Success
Growth hacking is at its best when a marketer finds and exploits nuances that other marketers miss. Their intense focus on finding out-of-the-box solutions creates both increased effectiveness and a higher chance of success.
The caveat is, growth hacking only works if your company is open to experimentation. It’s important to understand that there are no guarantees in growth hacking. It requires a cavalier risk-taking approach to unlock potential shortcuts. But on the other side of that risk is the possibility for substantial growth – so you’ll have to decide if it is the right strategy for your company.
Growth Hacking Pillars
Your company can use these five major growth hacking pillars as guideposts to creating your own growth hacking strategy.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Evaluate your current marketing initiatives such as leads, traffic, and page views.
- Figure out where your company’s process can improve.
- Experiment to find new ways of hitting your target goals.
- Know when the data you’ve compiled is significant enough to prove your theories.
- Document new tactics and share your findings with multiple teams in your company.
This process will help you determine where you need to improve, what successful activities you can double-down on, and what you may have missed.
Be a Pirate
Another key to growth hacking is to use what are known as pirate metrics. While they aren’t the focus of this post, it’s important to know what they are. “Pirate” growth hacking methods get their name from the acronym created by the five metrics involved: AARRR.
- Acquisition: as in new customer acquisition.
- Activation: this means activating customers to start using your product.
- Retention: retaining your customers.
- Referral: soliciting others to help promote your brand and find new customers.
- Revenue: increasing your cash flow.
As you can see, these are all metrics directly related to the most important marketing result: growing your business’ bottom line. That’s no mistake: more profit equals more growth.
Consider what you learned by applying the pillars in the previous section through the lens of these metrics when reading the following growth hacking strategies.
7 Growth Hacking Strategies for 2021
Remember, growth hacking requires dedication and lots of trial and error to get it right. By integrating the following seven growth hacking strategies, your company will be on the right track to grow this year.
1. Content Repurposing
Content repurposing means taking an old or existing piece of content and reusing it for a new purpose. One piece of existing content can fit a variety of new needs.
For instance, a marketer may insist on doing a podcast, a blog, and a video for social. A true growth hacker films and records the podcast interview then transcribes the audio to create all three-in-one.
Turning old blog posts into revamped email newsletters, e-books, or guest posts is content repurposing at its finest. The concept is about doing more with less to save time, resources, and money.
2. Optimize Your Online Presence
Optimizing your online presence simply means synching how your company views its mission with how your customers see it. If these two things are in alignment and easy to gauge based on your online presence, then your company is prepared for growth. One way to do this is to be sure your messaging and branding is consistent across all online platforms.
Sometimes, growth hacking your online presence is about making the most out of existing infrastructure. A good example is optimizing your website to be mobile-friendly or upgrading its SEO. When it comes to growth hacking, optimization is the name of the game.
Having a fast, easy-to-navigate website makes it easier for visitors to convert to customers. If you only do one thing on this list, try this first and watch your growth metrics jump.
3. Get Referrals
Referral marketing is one of the tenets of pirate metrics mentioned above and dramatically boosts your other marketing efforts. In general, consumers are up to four times more likely to buy based on a referral.
One way to enhance this aspect of your business is by implementing a referral program. A quick hack to get started: set up a simple landing page with information about the program and an email capture to learn more. Then invite your existing newsletter subscribers and customers to share it with their networks.
If you want growth in 2021, don’t think of referral marketing as low-hanging fruit. Instead, think of it as the rocket fuel that can catapult your company into new terrain.
4. Gamify Onboarding
Everyone likes playing games, but new customers hate onboarding. Why not increase growth by combining the two?
Activating your clients is one of the metrics used in the AARRR framework, and it’s there for a reason. Most people get frustrated when they don’t know how to do something like learning to use a new product or app.
Gamifying the onboarding process is a surefire way to keep users active on your app or website long enough to get the hang of how to use it. Gamification improves retention (another pirate metric) and is also a great incentive for users to refer your products to their friends and family.
5. Connect with Your Community
Creating a community is paramount to your success as a growth hacker. Gone are the days of writing letters to provide feedback to companies. In today’s world, people want feedback in real-time from the companies they engage with and purchase from.
The more you can target your ideal customer in their natural “online” habitat, the easier it becomes to connect with them and engage with their product questions. It’s a great way to nurture leads who are concerned about topics related to purchasing your products.
An online community also connects would-be customers and prospects with your current customers – which is an excellent way to reverse-engineer and “growth hack” the referral process. It transforms your existing customers into brand evangelists who can champion your message.
6. Get a Social Media Advantage
To growth hack your social media channels, find platforms that your competitors aren’t using. Being in a “blue ocean” space on social will allow you to differentiate your company and corner the market.
Another solid social growth hacking strategy is to launch challenges that encourage your audience to use your product or services, and pass it along to interested friends in their network. Since these types of challenges predominantly exist on social media platforms, they can improve your online visibility through adding new followers, more likes, and more shares on your posts.
7. Use Interactive Content
Interactive content such as quizzes, webinars, and videos is becoming extremely popular in marketing campaigns. Getting someone to stop and take the time to interact with your content over your competitor’s is considered a big win in growth hacking.
Marketers love interactive content because they know that it leads to increased customer engagement and brand loyalty. Both of which are instrumental in helping to drive growth for your company. Quizzes have a very high retention rate, a key pirate metric that can transform your business in 2021.
Trust the Growth Hacking Process
Growth is a process, and like any process, it takes time. Savvy marketers can accelerate this timeline by using smart marketing best practices and growth hacking them through repeated trial and error.
Growth hacking isn’t just about experimentation or shortcuts. Its real mission is to find out what your audience craves, so you can give them more of what they want. That’s why it’s the perfect solution to jumpstart your marketing efforts this year and help your company bounce back in 2021.